Tuesday, 29 September 2009

I have been neglecting you!

Since the advent of Facebook I have been rubbish at posting photos and stories here. But as not everyone is my Facebook friend I will attempt an update.
I have so far built 25 kilometres of road in Karamoja; employed over a thousand people; and been sick several times!
This is a road we finished back in July.

Since then I have been on holiday to Israel and Palestine with these lovely people:It was a fantastic experience. A nightmare to get into and out of the country with my Sudanese visas but well worth the trip.

and then back to Uganda to hack through the bush for road number 2:

Funding is starting to run out for projects where we are. It looks likely that we'll have to pack up and leave in the first half of next year. This is despite failed harvests, Hepititus E outbreaks and potential El Nino rains.

I'll leave you with this photo of the international staff team I work with. This was taken at a weekend away in a safari park near our base. I am so blessed to be here!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Alone in Abim

I am at a new base for the next 3 months. The setting is beautiful and the work really interesting but it’s quite lonely as there’s no one else at the base just now. I am hoping for lots of visitors to start arriving.

We’re had some great community meetings and next week run out first Disaster Risk Reduction workshop. It’s a chance for the community to understand where they are vulnerable and what capacities they have to withstand the shocks that come their way.

After the workshop we’ll begin rehabilitating a road to hopefully open up some new markets to these villages, provide some much needed work to returning communities and make it easier for the WFP food deliveries to arrive.

All in a day’s work…

Monday, 6 April 2009

work and rest

The great news is we distributed seeds to farmers before the rains. It was hard work at times but a great team effort pulled it off. It should make a difference in producing more food this year which important as there's always a gap when last year's food has run out and next year's food isn't quite ready.

And now I am in Kampala for rest over Easter. I am too tired to do much with my time here so am catching up with a marathon 3 series of Prison Break. It's my first break without friends to share it with and it's not nearly as much fun or restful on my own.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Settling in

I am coming towards the end of my first month. In general things are 100 times easier than Darfur but on the other hand I walked into Darfur as an ongoing project that I just had to pick up. This project is completely new, to Medair, to me and to Karamoja. I’m still trying to get a team together and am borrowing staff for a few days here and there to get things done.

The people I’ve met all seem really positive about the project so I hope when we get fully up and running that enthusiasm will convert to real support for our work.

Next week, Monday to be exact, I will meet my first community groups to discuss working for seeds and tools. It will be a real make or break time as all the planning in the world comes nothing if the community don’t get behind it. But I’m optimistic!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


I have now landed in Kaabong the northern most district of the Karamoja region. I am slowly learning about the context of where I will be working and getting some grasp of what I’ll be doing. Though it’s going to take a long time to get on top of things.

I thought you might like to know more about where I’m working. The Karamajong are traditionally cattle herders though there is some agriculture too. Cattle raiding has been accepted as a way of life for a very long time and was done peacefully for the most part. When spears were replaced with AK-47s not so much changed as no one bothered to fight someone who also had a gun. And then the disarmament started and some had guns, others didn’t, raids became more violent.

Combine that with a region liable to droughts and flooding, susceptible to animal diseases and slowly breaking down systems of traditional leadership lives Karamoja in need of assistance form the outside world.

My project is part of a wider horn of Africa food price crises response. Essentially people can no longer afford to buy what little food is in the markets. It also encompasses disaster risk reduction as communities decide what they need to minimise the impact of future crises. A lot of my project is cash for work so people have more money in their pockets, there’s also some seeds and tools distributions and construction of infrastructure such as roads linking market towns.

I think I’m going to like living here. I am recruiting a team to work with me at the moment and look forward to getting to know them. And I have three dogs for company, which makes me very happy!

I’ll let you know more as and when I know more myself.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

some good news about the schools

You will have seen the storm damage when I posted the photos a few months ago.  There has been some progress and some happy children’s faces.


I’m counting down to my final couple of weeks so hope that I’ll be able to post many more pictures that tell some good news stories.